China's "Golden" Tea Worth More than Gold

CHANGSHA, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Next year's entire harvest from a 410-year-old tea tree was bought for 600,000 yuan (92,000 U.S. dollars) at an auction in central China's Hunan Province Wednesday.

The tree is 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) high and located in Baojing County's Huangjin ("Gold") Village, where over 2,000 tea trees date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The tree, the oldest, is the only living plant on the province's intangible cultural heritage list. Leaves are harvested only once a year, in April, when the next year's harvest is auctioned off. The tree produces about half a kilogram of "golden tea" each year.

Another bidder paid for 1 kg of golden tea leaves with 1 kg actual gold (around 225,000 yuan) at Wednesday's auction. At another event in 2011, 0.1 kg of golden tea leaves sold for 98,000 yuan.